An Interview With Krostofer Dommin
You guys are going on tour with the 69 Eyes next month, what are your feelings towards that?
I’m just excited. I know that when we’ve been on tour in the past, we’ve had a lot of fans come up to us and say, “Hey, you know what would be a great tour with you guys would be with the 69 Eyes.” So, when I heard that, I checked them out and was like “Yeah, it’d be pretty cool.” So, once I knew that we had that, I thought “Well, this is going to be amazing.” The past two tours we’ve been on have been really cool packages; it’s going to be another very cool package that I think if I was a fan going to see this kind of show that I would really enjoy it, you know? It’s cool when you get to go to a show and you like all of the bands playing. So, I’m excited. I think it’s gonna be a great package.
Are you noticing that as you’re performing more and more that there are more people singing along with you?
Absolutely, yeah. It’s been growing ever since we started and now that we’re visiting certain places around the country for the second/third time, we’ve definitely noticed an increase of people. Especially back east when some of the places are kind of so close, maybe two hours away from where the shows before were, you’ll see people who go to multiple shows. It’s pretty interesting.
Your album is set to finally debut in February 2010, why exactly has it been delayed for nearly a year?
I think it’s largely due to Roadrunner really trying to figure out what is the best way to put us out there. Everybody will tell you that, “oh my band sounds different, we got something new going on,” or whatever it is, but actually, I think it’s a legitimate challenge for the label because they — it’s not just a one-sided kind of genre that we’re doing. People will tell us, “oh, we hear a little bit of Type O’; we hear a little bit of Danzig; a little bit of Depeche Mode,” and they’ll throw out all of these names of bands that are all kind of on the darker side of things, but they’re all very different from each other, and we pretty much have elements of all of that in our music. So, I’ll have a song that’s definitely more geared to a heavier song, then I’ll have another song that has more of an electronic feel. I think it’s because it’s so diverse, Roadrunner’s trying to figure out, “Ok, how do we put this record out there without putting it in a box?” Which what tends to happen, people will identify something as metal, or rock, or goth, or something like that. And then, when someone really takes a listen to the album from beginning to end, they’re like, “wait, this isn’t really goth music at all.” So, I think it was really — the reason for the delay was just a challenge figuring out what is the best way to put DOMMIN into the market in a way that they would have the biggest chance to reach as many people as possible. So, hopefully they have that all figured out now; we’re just waiting to see what the reaction is.
Do you view that as a positive aspect for the delay?
Yeah, if that means they’re going to put more work into letting people know that it exists rather than just throwing it on the shelves and hoping it takes off on its own. The more time that we have leading up to the album coming out, the more time we have to set up interviews and tour a lot more, so that when it does hit stores that there’s a good amount of people that know about it. But then, it’s also frustrating for a lot of people because we’ve had fans that have been following us since we did our independent release; that was back in ’06. So, they’ve been waiting three-four years for something new to come out, you know? So, it’s frustrating for us, it’s frustrating for the people who’ve been around a long time. Hopefully it will all be worth it when it does finally get released.
You guys did release an EP through Hot Topic though, right?
Right. It’s just four songs — three songs are from the full album, and one song is an exclusive.
What kind of feedback have you been receiving since its release?
People are just excited, and happy about it, and they’re burning out the disc, playing it over, and over, and over again. So, it’s all been very positive and people can’t wait til the full album comes out; it’s a good little taste of what is going to be on the record. So, I think it’s just building a lot of excitement to have the whole thing released so they can hear what the rest of the songs sound like.
Which song(s) are you finding that people are responding to the most on the EP?
It varies from person to person, everybody has their own taste. My Heart, Your Hands has been out there for a little while. So, initially that is the one that hit everybody — but, it’s different because once everyone comes to see us live, this song called Dark Holiday, tends to be a real favorite, so they tend to be drawn to that one. Yeah, it just varies from person to person. Everyone’s got their own favorite.
Is there a song on your unreleased album, that hasn’t been heard by the public yet, that you want everyone to hear?
Umm. I would have to say probably Closure. I think that’s the song, Closure, near the end of the CD. That’s just a real — I don’t know, I just think it’s a pretty powerful song, a really powerful statement, and it’s a positive statement too. To me, it kind of wraps up the album in a good way. It’s not the last song on the record, but it kind of wraps up everything. I don’t know, it’s a tough question because I like a few of the songs on there a lot like it, in a very personal way, where they actually mean a lot to me. So, I think between Closure, the title track Love is Gone, which is my personal favorite song on the album, and then there’s an orchestral piece at the very end called Remember, which I think is going to be interesting to see what people think about that one because it’s not like anything else that’s on the album. I’m interested in getting feedback pretty much for those three songs. Closure, just because it has a really good impact, I think; Love is Gone, my personal favorite; and Remember, because it’s different from everything else that you’d probably even expect to be on this record.
What are some events that have happened in your life that have made an impact on your music/lyrics?
I tend to write about things that matter to me, as I imagine anyone else would. And, to me, the most important things in the world are the relationships we have with people around you, you know, your parents, your kids, or your boyfriend/girlfriend. So, that tends to be the thing that matter to me the most and tends to be the things that affect me the most, inspire me to emote, or write, or play music. I think relationships, in general, is the key inspiring factor that runs through all the music.
You guys came out with the video for My Heart, Your Hands; how did you come up with the concept for it because it’s a very interesting video.
Which one are you referring to because there’s actually two of them.
Yeah, on YouTube there’s one listed as My Heart, Your Hands 2007 and there’s a My Heart, Your Hands 2009.
I think I saw the 2009 one.
Is that the one with the TV screen where all of the surgery scenes are happening in the TV screen?
Yeah, that’s the one.
Ok, pretty much, that was a mixture of a new video we did with director Dean Karr, and we mixed old scenes from the video we made ourselves about two years ago. So, if you look on YouTube, you’ll see two different versions of it. We pretty much put the old narrative, the old surgery scenes from our original video, and mixed it together with the new Dean Karr video. I think it’s kind of cool for fans who have been following us for a while to see both themes of the old and the new come together. All the narrative scenes from the story in the video is from the old video, and me and my keyboard player, Konstantine, put our heads together, and came up with this idea — pretty much it’s like a literal interpretation of the song; we didn’t want to be too symbolic with it, you know what I mean?
We just wanted to lay it out there. I tend to be geared towards stuff that’s easy to get. So, that pretty much explains that, I hope it answered your question.
It did. That does bring me to my next question… What was your experience like working with Dean Karr, because he is basically a legend.
Yeah, it was cool. It was funny how it all came together. He wasn’t on the list of people we had the option of working with, it actually came through a personal connection that we ended up speaking with him, and once he had heard the song, he basically said, “I want to do this song.” He was amped on doing it — you know, he heard the song, he fell in love with it, and he was amped on doing it. He was enthusiastic and just really wanted to sink his teeth into it — excited and passionate. From that point, just to have his eye for color, and for camera shots, and everything like that, it was awesome to work around somebody’s who’s just, like you said, a legend in that industry.
It must’ve been a huge compliment for you as well, that he wanted to work with you.
Yeah, absolutely! To have somebody who’s directed so many bands and has probably heard so much music to be so passionate about something that we’re doing, is a huge compliment coming from him.
What are your most proud and defining moments that you’ve encountered so far? I could see working with Dean Karr as one of those moments.
I think it’s still in the early beginning stages. But, I think that so far, the things that have meant the most are kind of the interpersonal things that happen when we’re touring and stuff; to kind of meet somebody who’s been following us for a while, or who’s just found out about us, or whatever it is, and to meet them at the shows in person, kind of take it from an “oh I like this song, by this band, by this guy I don’t really know,” you know what I mean, to meeting the person face-to-face, in the flesh, and have that person tell me that it either inspired them, or it helped them get through something, or changed them. Those are the — there’s plenty of those, it’s not like a one time thing. It kind of happens frequently and I am really honored to have it be like that, to have it have an impact and affect on people. I think those are my most proud moments. But, then it feels like I’m actually doing some amount of good from all this and not some sort of selfish endeavor, you know what I mean? It actually means something to somebody, and it’s helping somebody, and it’s doing some amount of good in the universe, you know? Those are my most proud moments.
You seem to stay pretty grounded and humble from the way that you just answered my question. What are your opinions on some of the other artists that let their fame and success blow their egos out of proportion?
You know, it’s kind of hard to judge that kind of stuff because another thing that I learned, just getting involved and having a career start and everything, is that you can never really believe what you hear. Yeah, you can hear stories all the time about this person and what they do and all that kind of stuff, and I don’t even know for myself, things that I don’t really get into, for whatever reason something will rub somebody the wrong way, and suddenly something will get blown out of proportion, and all of a sudden someone has a bad label attached to them. And then you meet the person that that happened to and you’re like, “he’s a totally cool person to me.” So, it’s kind of hard to judge that kind of thing because you never know if what you’re hearing is true, or if it’s somebody who just, you know, is blowing something out of proportion. I would hope that everybody kind of appreciates where they came from and doesn’t let — you know, at the end of the day, no matter who they are, they’re no different than anybody else, they just happen to write a good tune, or put out a good album, or play guitar, or sing, whatever it is they do, it doesn’t really make them a better person than anybody else. So, I would hope that most people stay grounded, and even for those who don’t, you always hear that pride comes before the fall; I’m sure that sooner or later, they’ll come around and realize their own mortality, sooner or later.
When you are on stage, what is the most exhilarating sensation that comes over you that you automatically notice?
Hmmm. I would say that there are a couple of different things. I mean, in one way, I kind of just — I don’t really think. I go out there and I just feel, and do, and it’s not really — I’m not really conscious of what I’m feeling, you know what I mean? Like, I don’t really pay too much attention to that. So, it’s kind of hard for me to say because it’s almost like, when you’re on stage, it’s just a flash that goes by, and it’s like — it’s exhilarating! A lot of times you don’t really recognize that kind of stuff until you’re off stage and you’re like, “oh wow, that was cool,” you know? It’s almost like when you get in a car accident and you’re injured, and you don’t really realize that you’re injured til afterwards because your adrenaline, the things you’re doing– you’re kind of just not aware of what your body is feeling, but your emotions are untied — it’s something you don’t really look back on until you’re off stage. But, I don’t know, I think the only time I get taken back, and maybe this is just because we’re new — relatively new on the scene, is when we go into places and all of a sudden I’ll look out into the audience and a large amount of people, they’ll all be singing the songs and it’s just such a really — I can feel the gratitude — I have so much gratitude when I see that stuff!
Well, it means a lot to me, you know what I mean? Like the song My Heart, Your Hands, we’ve been playing since 2003, and to actually have it to go out there when we’re on stage, and people are singing those words back to me, it humbles me immensely and just gives me a feeling of gratitude for people who are coming out to see us, and connect, and give that energy back to me, you know?
What about before you get on stage, what kind of feeling comes over you?
I try to just — I think we all do in the band, psych ourselves out a little bit. We just kind of do whatever activity we got to do to get our blood pumpin’ a little bit, and I think that everybody gets slightly nervous at the sight of the audience and stuff. I try not to think about that stuff too much cause’ then you tend to over analyze it and just drive myself crazy.
Good point. What are some messages in your new album that you think inspires or relates to your audience?
I think the over all message is, and I hope this comes across as not explicit, but it’s more, I think, implicit than the attitude of the songs that — these aren’t songs that are crying about poor me because I was hurt in a relationship or something like that, it really comes from a place of strength. I hope that people take across that message is that we all go through hard times, we’ve all been through bad things, and in the end, we’re all ok; we all recover, we may never forget things, but in the end, it’s all alright. And I hope that message kind of comes across through the music and they realize it’s not a poor me fest, you know? I hope it’s encouraging, I hope it’s an actually encouraging album, it can be dark and painful at times. So, that’s what comes across.
What do you want to contribute to the music industry over the course of your career?
I guess as what anyone would want to contribute is to stand the test of time, that and bring people a certain amount of enjoyment, you know, the same things that I look for in the bands I listen to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put in a Depeche Mode CD and just been — even if it’s a sad song, you feel happy to listen to it. So, I think just having — contributing good songs, songs that matter to people, and to stand the test of time. I think that’s really what all we can hope for — it’s a lot to hope for — for most people that doesn’t really happen, I think that’s probably what everyone hopes for. You want to remain relevant.
Would you like to say anything else before this interview concludes?
We look forward to, me and my bandmates, heading out across the country and all over the world, and meeting everybody, and really connecting with people who are connected to the music, connected on a very personal level, and meeting everybody. That’s what we look forward to the most. So come on out and say hello!(laughs)